Bush Speaks!


Tonight, the President took to the airwaves from New Orleans. I’m not convinced he’s written a check that his kiester can cash. In truth, it’ll probably be his successor — along with other Republicans — that’ll pay the piper for Bush’s ambitious directives.

I like his idea of using unused federal lands as a sort of urban homesteading. That’s a cool use of space, and if done right, could be a great opportunity for folks trapped in poverty from that region. The lottery thing for getting the spaces would be a little weird, but I suppose that’s as fair as it can get.

I wasn’t jazzed about expanding the federal authority and broadening the role of the military during a disaster like this. The talking heads I listened to after the address thought he might be referring to federalizing the National Guard, who report to the state governors. Apparently, he tried to do that in the days following 9/11, and that was received with a ton of screaming and hollering from the governors, Republicans and Democrats alike.

And of course, he promised rebuilding of the area, including bringing New Orleans back to life. That’s a noble and good goal. He also addressed the plight of the poor, indicating that they were proof of past racial injustice. While I think that there were challenges with this in times past, I think the bigger problem with some of the poor there — and elsewhere — is this notion that you can hold your hand out, and the government will put something in it. After a generation or two of this, there’s no real incentive to find and hold a job, and folks are in a circle of poverty.

I realize my view is vastly over-simplified and probably shaped by what I’ve seen and what I’ve lived, but I just can’t fathom that there’s no jobs out there if you happen to live in the South, and happen to belong to a given race or culture. I’m not saying that everyone should be handed a cushy desk job, but on the other hand, if you’re gonna rebuild a city and its infrastructure, it seems to me that there are tons of opportunities to learn skills, build companies and provide for families. My two cents.

So, how much will it cost, and where will the money come from? Well, Bush was tightlipped on that. Already $60B has been allocated, and the total bill may well be over $200B. I think it’s gonna be difficult to keep $80B+ in Iraq for troops, and still come up with that kind of money. And, of course, the money’s not there now, so it’ll have to be borrowed, and we surely couldn’t withstand another disaster on any kind of magnitude approaching Katrina.

Yup, I’m skeptical. Not so much of the intentions, but of laying the burden of moving boatloads of money into other countries, and pushing a ton of financing into our children’s future. That doesn’t seem like a cool deal to me.